ST. THOMAS — A judge said Friday that a St. Thomas man could spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted of raping a child.
Mackeem Appleton, 28, of Contant Knolls, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant issued Oct. 1, and charged with second-degree aggravated rape, second-degree rape, second-degree unlawful sexual contact, child abuse, two counts of prohibition of visual medium depicting sexually explicit conduct, and causing the delinquency of a minor.
The affidavit filed by V.I. Police has not been made public, but police spokesman Toby Derima said in a news release that Appleton is accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl at his home on July 1.
Unable to post $100,000 bail, Appleton was held in jail until his advice-of-rights hearing in V.I. Superior Court on Friday.
Magistrate Judge Carolyn Hermon-Percell, who issued the warrant, said there is significant evidence to support Appleton’s arrest.
“Looking at the charges, I do consider you a flight risk because the criminal exposure you face just for the one charge, that second-degree aggravated rape, is imprisonment for life,” Hermon-Percell said. “I believe the people have a strong case. They have the alleged victim, the mother, the people have set forth they may have photographs, text messages, other things to prove the charges against you.”
While it is Appleton’s first contact with the criminal justice system, “the court has to be concerned about the charges,” and Hermon-Percell said he poses both a flight risk, and a danger to the alleged victim.
The judge reduced his bail to $75,000 cash, and said he must post that full amount in order to be released from jail while he awaits trial. If he is released, Appleton must remain under 24-hour house arrest with electronic monitoring, and is not allowed to be in contact with any children, including his own, without another adult supervising.
The case is still under investigation. Anyone with information should call 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211 ext. 5572, or Crime Stoppers USVI at 800-222-8477.